Live Music Review: Faith No More
On Thursday, April 23rd, I went to see Faith No More at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. (The name comes from the fact that it’s on the corner of Wilshire and Western.) I’m lucky I had a chance to go; the (pre!)show sold out in about 30 seconds. My friend John was on it, though. We ended up having a pretty good crew of about 8 people thanks to his quick reflexes and web saavy.
I had seen Faith No More previously in Brooklyn, NY at the Williamsburg Waterfront. It was an amazing experience, but it was more like an outdoor festival. The Wiltern show was much more intimate. It’s also among the top three concerts I’ve ever attended, and not only because I’m such a Mike Patton fanboy. The sound, musicianship, and energy were perfect.
I arrived early with a co-worker, so we grabbed a pizza and a couple of beers before the concert at the restaurant next door. We stayed for awhile and ended up missing the opening act (The Urinals) completely. We peeked in to hear them briefly, but no one seemed like they wanted to go in and see them. Andrew Bansal from metalassault.com described The Urinals as bland, repetitive, and unenergetic. It seems to me we didn’t miss anything. (Between The Urinals and Retox opening for Tomahawk, what’s with the lousy opening acts for Patton?)
The stage setup looked like a cemetery. The monitors and speakers were all covered in white and adorned with bouquets of flowers. Faith No More took the stage at approximately 9:45 to rapturous applause. I expected Patton to get the biggest applause, as he’s easily the most famous member in the band. I was pleasantly surprised that all the members seemed to get the same response. Music is collaborative, after all, and Patton isn’t even the original singer.
The band members were all dressed in white, and my immediate thought was that they looked like cult members. Was this a tongue-in-cheek jab that their fans are cult-like? (Or maybe I just totally made that up.) The one exception was “the gimp” who was dressed in black leather from head to toe, including a mask that covered his face completely. Fun fact! I later found out that this was Duff McKagan (the bassist for Guns ‘N Roses). He didn’t play anything, he just walked around on stage during the first song and the encore. It was more of a strange prank than anything.
The performance was incredible. Just absolutely incredible. As I write this post four days later, I’m still blown away. The musicianship was a lot tighter than when I saw them in 2009, and the new songs are new-sounding without losing the Faith No More flavor. (You can order the new album by clicking the Amazon link that I included at the top of this post.) The sound mixing was superb, and every song hit me like a ton of bricks. Faith No More’s music is very drum and bass oriented, especially their album King for a Day, Fool for a Lifetime. I was happy that most of the songs were off of this album.
The highlight for me was the song The Gentle Art of Making Enemies. If you’ve never heard it before, give it a listen. The song is quite heavy while at the same time being quite varied. It goes from a quiet hum to a loud, chugging riff and into the melodic chorus. Patton’s vocals are really on display in this song; he goes from a whisper to a growl to operatic singing before the song is over.
All five members of Faith No More are amazing musicians and the energy throughout the show was insane, especially considering these guys are in their late 40s/early 50s. The stand out performance belongs to Patton, though. Of course. The frontman always has the toughest job, and he nailed it. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him. It helps that he has one of the best voices in
rock music contemporary music, in general, and that his singing style/vocal delivery is so varied and so versatile. He has no problem going from a metal song to a jam song to a punk song to a jazz song. I was invested all the way, and the crowd’s reaction suggested that everyone else was, too.
On a side note, our small group shared the floor space with the comedian Brian Posehn. I know who he is, and I knew that he liked heavy music, but I’m not super familiar with his comedy. A couple of fans asked for photos with him, and he obliged although I think it was a bit annoying for him. He was trying to enjoy the show like the rest of us, after all.
Faith No More, after an amazing set, gave us not one but two encores. Ugly in the Morning was pure chaos and the crowd went nuts. We Care A Lot is from the Chuck Moseley days, and I’m thrilled that they still play it. (The song is almost thirty years old.) The second encore was a new song, and a fitting end to the concert.
Setlist: Motherfucker | Land of Sunshine | Caffeine | Evidence | Epic | Sunny Side Up | As the Worm Turns | Midlife Crisis (Lowdown [Boz Scaggs] tease) | Chinese Arithmetic | The Gentle Art of Making Enemies | Easy (Commodores cover) | Cuckoo for Caca | King for a Day | Ashes to Ashes | Superhero
Encore: Matador | Ugly in the Morning | We Care a Lot
Encore 2: From the Dead
Setlist: ★★★★★ out of 5
Sound: ★★★★★ out of 5
Energy: ★★★★★ out of 5
Live Performance: ★★★★★ out of 5
Overall: ★★★★★ out of 5
Tomorrow, I’m going to see Clutch and Mastodon live in Hollywood. I’m very excited for the concert, but they’ve got some huge shoes to fill to live up to the mighty Faith No More. Yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed this concert.
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- Coheed and Cambria (feat. BTBAM & Russian Circles)
- Black Sabbath (feat. Andrew WK)
- Vampire Weekend (feat. Beirut)
- Fit for a King & For Today
- ††† (Crosses) (feat. Omniflux & Spirit in the Room)
- Soundgarden & NIN 2014
- Dr. Octagon (feat. Avalon, Gap Dream & No Parents)
- Faith No More (feat. The Urinals)
- Mastodon & Clutch (feat. Graveyard)
- Coheed and Cambria (feat. Seahaven)
- The Appleseed Cast (feat. Adjy & Coaster)
- The Smashing Pumpkins & Marilyn Manson
- Danzig (feat. Cancer Bats & Saviours)
- Imagine Dragons (feat. Halsey & Metric)
- Between the Buried and Me & Animals As Leaders (feat. The Contortionist)
- Deftones & Incubus (feat. Death from Above 1979)
- 2015 Summer Rankings
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- Joe Satriani
- Coheed and Cambria (feat. Glassjaw, I the Mighty, Silver Snakes)
- Killswitch Engage (feat. Memphis May Fire, 36 Crazyfists, and Toothgrinder)
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- Temple of the Dog (feat. Fantastic Negrito)
Giraffe Tongue Orchestra (cancelled)
- 2016 Concert Rankings
- August Burns Red (feat. Protest the Hero, In Hearts Wake, ’68)
- Norma Jean (feat. He Is Legend, Capsize, Comrades)
- Red (feat. Wolves at the Gate, Message from Sylvia, Death Therapy) (coming soon)
- Mastodon (feat. Eagles of Death Metal, Russian Circles) (coming soon)
- Pixies (coming soon)
- Tool (feat. Clutch, Fantomas, Primus, Melvins, Crystal Method) (coming soon)
- Rise Against (feat. Deftones, Thrice) (coming soon)
- Dead Cross (feat. Neil Hamburger, Ho99o9) (coming soon)
- Banks (coming soon)
- Between the Buried and Me (feat. The Contortionist, Poluphia, Toothgrinder) (coming soon)
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- Russian Circles (feat. MGR) (coming soon)
- Our Lady Peace (feat. Smashing Hearts) (coming soon)
- Animals As Leaders (feat. Periphery and Astronoid) (coming soon)
Mike Patton stuff on this website
- Mike Patton’s Guest Spots
- Faith No More concert review
- Old Music Tuesdays: Faith No More
- Faith No More Stripsearch
- Old Music Tuesdays: Mr. Bungle
- Tomahawk concert review
- Tomahawk Red Fox
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